Responsibility Doesn’t End at the Gate

This past weekend was the most important, special, wonderful, fantastic time of the year–the opening of deer season. Because of this, I am late in getting this blog post done. My apologies. However, this event provided great fodder for this post, because a certain episode this weekend reminded me how raising livestock is truly a 24/7 commitment.

Now deer season is a religious holiday in our area. There’s a big family gathering, rituals that must be adhered to, and even breakfast at the church! So deer hunting isn’t something I do just for a hobby, it’s in my blood and part of who I am. I plan most of my year around this weekend and spend months preparing for it and everything I do during it.

Jake in the back of the JD Gator

Such as being able to stand up in a moving vehicle like a gunslinger on a train in a western movie. Weeks of training involved here. 

On the other hand, when you own livestock, even an important event like deer season takes a back seat to the cattle. On Sunday, after the morning hunt (Yes Grandma, I still went to church, but it was at night) Dad and I checked on the calves and their fence. They have been weaned for a few days now and we needed to let them into the larger pen so they could get next to the hay bales for protection from the cold wind. So in my blaze orange vest and hat, rifle across my back, we went from post to post checking wires and putting in staples.

Although it cut into my deer hunting time, it didn’t bother me to do this job. It’s something we just understand when raising livestock that you have a responsibility for the well-being of your cattle. Family vacations for years were scheduled around calving season and weaning. Sometimes you don’t make it to events because there is a cow having trouble calving or a heifer knocked over a gate. Even for Carolyn and my wedding, my parents were scrambling to figure out who would stay home and watch the pregnant cows. It’s just part of the deal that you accept when you raise livestock.

In the end, we fixed the fence, turned the calves out, and went back to deer hunting. All work and no play makes Jake a irritable boy. Just ask his wife ;).